Rovers FT: Doncaster Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0

James Coppinger lets fly for Rovers

James Coppinger lets fly for Rovers

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Rovers fell just short in their bid to record their first back-to-back league wins of the season, being held by Boro in a goalless draw.

The game got off to a frenetic start, with the visitors backed by a very vocal contingent of 4,000 travelling fans.

Ledesma was the first to try his luck from distance for Boro but his effort went tamely wide, before Keegan tried his luck from a similar range at the other end but his shot sailed over the bar.

Duffy was showing one or two neat touches early on and his inswinging cross was flicked just wide by Coppinger.

Following a hectic opening to the game, the pace started to drop approaching the 20-minute mark, and it was notable that the swirling wind was also causing both teams problems.

Doncaster were gifted a sight of goal when they were awarded a free kick right on the edge of Boro’s box for a high boot on Husband. Coppinger obliged but struck his effort into the wall.

Duffy continued to be Rovers’main attacking threat, his low left-wing delivery was just about dealt with by Given with Sharp lurking at the near post.

The home side were getting nowhere near the time and space they were afforded against Charlton in midweek, with Boro showing glimpses of their offensive quality. Leadbitter ran unchallenged from one penalty area to the other but his shot was blocked.

But Rovers continued to probe. Brown curled an effort straight at Given after neat build-up play, before Coppinger sent a teasing cross in for Sharp who had drifted just offside.

Wellens was next to try his luck on goal, but could not keep his effort down after Husband’s free kick bounced kindly for him in the box.

Doncaster had got themselves on top but they were reminded of Boro’s threat on the break when Carayol broke clear down the left but failed to pick anyone out with his cross.

Wellens then saw yellow - his tenth booking of the season - for a late tackle on Carayol as tempered frayed on the touchline, before the half petered out in rather scrappy fashion.

HALF-TIME

Rovers............0

Boro...............0

There was a change of referee for the second half. Andy Davies was taken ill at half-time and was replaced by fourth official Mark Brown. Rovers made an enforced change with Furman on to replace Keegan.

Keegan’s impact in the middle of the park since his return from injury has been there for all to see, so a big job lay ahead for Furman.

Boro began the second half in much brighter fashion. Chalobah found space to slide a ball through for Carayol but he drilled his effort just wide of Johnstone’s far post.

Coppinger, again bright in possession, got to the by-line but drove his cross straight at Given.

Boro continued to look a threat=. Khumalo did well to head Friend’s probing cross away, before Main’s header from Ledesma’s centre was comfortably saved by Johnstone.

=Rovers wasted the best chance of the game when Sharp drove in a cross from the right but a stretching Brown skied his effort from only a few yards out.

Boro brought on loan striker Graham and combative midfielder Whitehead, with Graham’s first contribution a wayward shot.

The on-loan Sunderland striker was then nearly in the right place at the right time when Friend got forward on the left and flashed a header across the six-yard box and out for a goal kick, much to the relief of Rovers’ rearguard.

Friend then tried his luck on the angle of the box as Boro continued to ask questions. Dickov responded by throwing on Cotterill for Duffy.

A period of pressure, and succession of Cotterill corners, followed but when a delivery found Tamas at the back post, the Romanian’s effort was a tired one, failing to trouble Given.

Kamara replaced Ayala for Boro and almost made an immediate impact, breaking clear down the left but firing just wide.

Rovers almost clinched a late winner but Brown failed to get a decent connection on Cotterill’s right wing delivery and the game ended in a stalemate.

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